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Picture of Salmon PatchesA birthmark is a spot, patch, or lump that looks different from the rest of your baby’s skin. You may see this when your baby is born. Some birthmarks appear shortly after birth.
Birthmarks come in many shapes and colors. You may see a flat or raised mark. It may the size of a pinhead or cover a large area of your child’s skin. Most birthmarks fall somewhere in between. A birthmark can be pink, red, tan, brown, or any other color. Some look like a bruise. Others look like a stain on the skin.

Some birthmarks are common. It’s estimated that between 3% and 10% of babies are born with a type of birthmark called a hemangioma. Other birthmarks, such a port-wine stain, are less common.

Why a dermatologist should examine your baby’s birthmark

One thing that most birthmarks have in common is that they’re harmless. Yet, if you see a birthmark on your child’s skin, it’s wise to have a dermatologist examine it.

What you think is a birthmark could be the first sign of a skin disease.

It’s also possible that your baby has a harmless birthmark that will grow quickly. Seeing a birthmark grow quickly can be scary. Knowing this will happen and learning what to watch for can help put your mind at ease.

Some birthmarks are a sign that something is going on inside your baby’s body.

By making an appointment with our board-certified dermatologist as soon as you notice the birthmark, you’ll know what to expect. A dermatologist can also tell you whether treatment is recommended, be it a birthmark or skin condition.

Different types of birthmarks

Strawberry hemangioma

Medical name: Superficial infantile hemangioma

What it looks like: The birthmark usually looks like a strawberry-colored lump that feels firm and rubbery. Sometimes, instead of a Strawberry hemangioma on baby's bodyseeing a lump, you may find a strawberry-colored patch or patches on your child’s skin.

Whether a lump or patch, this birthmark tends to grow quickly, usually until the child is 4 to 6 months old. Some grow for a longer time. When a strawberry hemangioma stops growing, it may stay the same or start to shrink.

In time, all strawberry hemangiomas shrink. As it shrinks, the color changes to slate gray. The birthmark also begins to soften.

When the birthmark shrinks, the skin may break down, causing pain. If this happens, see your child’s dermatologist. The right wound care can help speed healing and eliminate the pain.

Where it usually develops on the body: Most occur on the head or neck, but this birthmark can develop anywhere on the skin or moist tissue inside the mouth or anus.

Will it go away? Yes, it usually goes away on its own, leaving little evidence that it was ever there. About 10% disappear by the age 1 and, 90% are gone by the time a child is 10 years old.

Deep hemangioma (he-man-gee-oh-ma)

Medical name: Cavernous infantile hemangioma

What it looks like: This birthmark looks like a lump that sits deep in the skin. It may be skin colored or have a bluish-purple color as Deep hemangioma on baby's chestshown here. You may see thin red lines, which are visible blood vessels. When you touch this birthmark, it often feels warm and firm.

This birthmark can grow quickly and grow for up to a year. Sometimes, the growth stops suddenly. Other times, it slows.

While it’s growing, a deep hemangioma can be painful. Some break open and bleed.

If this happens, make an appointment for your child to see a board-certified dermatologist.

Where it usually develops on the body: Anywhere on the skin.

Will it go away? Most fade on their own, but it takes time. About half disappear by 5 years of age. Nearly 90% will be gone by the time a child is 10 years old. As it fades, it can leave a light spot or scar on the skin.

Salmon patch

Medical name: Nevus simplex

What it looks like: You’ll see a flat, pink, red, or salmon-colored spot or patch. On darker skin tones, these birthmarks can appear dark red.

Angel's kiss on baby's faceIf you gently press on this birthmark, the color tends to fade. The color becomes more noticeable when your baby cries, becomes overheated, or feels irritated.

Some babies have a few spots or patches, as shown here. When a salmon patch appears on the face, it’s often referred to as an angel’s kiss. On the back of the neck, people often call this birthmark a stork’s bite.

Where it usually develops on the body: Usually the face or the back of the neck, but it can appear elsewhere on the body.

Will it go away? On the face, this birthmark tends to disappear between 1 and 3 years of age. When it appears on the back of the neck (stork’s bite) or elsewhere, it may fade but not disappear.

Café-au-lait (café-oh-lay) spot

Medical name: Café-au-lait macule

What it looks like: This flat spot is darker than the rest of your child’s skin. It has an easy-to-see border and is the same color Café-au-lait spot on child's facethroughout. The color ranges from that of coffee with milk on fair skin (shown here) to the color of black coffee on dark skin. The size varies greatly. It can be the size of a freckle or cover a large area of skin.

Most children have one spot, but some kids have more. If your child has six or more café-au-lait spots or you see spots that look like freckles developing around a café-au-lait spot, it’s time to see a dermatologist.

Where it usually appears on the body: Buttocks, but it can appear anywhere on the skin, including the face (shown here).

Will it go away? No. This spot remains on the skin for life.

If your child has a café-au-lait spot in a visible place, a dermatologist can tell you whether treatment can help.


Medical name: Congenital melanocytic nevusMole on child's skin

What it looks like: A mole can appear on the skin as a small spot or cover a large area of skin. The mole may feel smooth, warty, or like cobblestones.

Moles come in many colors, but most are brown or tan.

Where it usually appears on the body: Like moles that appear later in life, this mole can appear anywhere on the skin.

Will it go away? A few disappear, but most remain on the skin for life. Because melanoma, the most-serious skin cancer, can develop in a mole, this birthmark should be checked by a dermatologist.

Mongolian spot

Medical name: Dermal melanocytosisMongolian spot on buttocks

What it looks like: Often looking like a bruise, this birthmark may be light blue, dark blue, or blue gray.

A baby may have one spot or several. Each spot can vary greatly in size.

This birthmark occurs in all races. It’s least common in people who have white skin and most common in Asians.

Where it usually appears on the body: Most appear on the lower back or buttocks, but it can show up anywhere on the skin.

Will it go away? These often go away by the time a child is 3 to 5 years old. A few people still have this birthmark as adults.

Port-wine stain

Medical name: Nevus flammeus

Port-wine stain on a child's arm and upper chestWhat it looks like: At birth, these can appear as a single spot, multiple spots, as a patch, or multiple patches and are typically pink, red, or purple.

As the child grows, so will this birthmark. In time, the birthmark tends to thicken and darken. As it thickens, the texture can change. Ridges may develop. Sometimes, the birthmark feels like cobblestones on the skin.

Where it usually develops on the body: A port-wine stain usually develops on the face; however, it can appear anywhere on the skin.

Will it go away? Without treatment, this birthmark remains on the skin for life.

Nevus sebaceous (knee-vus seh-bay-ceous)

Medical name: Organoid hamartoma

What it looks like: What you see varies with the child’s age.

Nevus sebaceous on child's scalpWhen it develops on the scalp of a newborn, this birthmark often looks like a slightly raised, hairless (or nearly hairless) patch. Your baby’s hair will grow around it, as shown in the picture above.

As your child grows, this birthmark may stay the same or change. It’s most likely to change during the teen years. It may thicken. You may notice the birthmark changes color, becoming slightly yellow or orange. The surface can feel pebbly or warty.

Where it usually develops on the body: This birthmark usually appears on the scalp or face. Occasionally, it develops on the neck or another area of the body.

Will it go away? This birthmark can change, but it doesn’t go away.

White spot

Medical name: Hypopigmented maculeWhite spot birthmark

What it looks like: Many people call this a white spot, but this birthmark is often an area of skin that has less color than the baby’s surrounding skin. This spot can be raised or flat. It may be round, oval, or another shape. Some are leaf shaped.

Where it usually appears: Most develop on the chest, abdomen, back, or buttocks. They can also appear anywhere else on the skin.

Will it go away? Most disappear.

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